Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash 90
Nora Edri, the mikvah lady in Hod HaSharon, May 14, 2014.

Israel’s Minister of Religious Services Matan Kahana (Yamina) is busy reforming the kashrut certification services in Israel (Matan Kahana Drives a D9 over Chief Rabbinate’s Kosher Certification Monopoly). That was Wednesday morning. In the afternoon, Kan 11 News reported that the industrious minister is also working on a reform in the country’s giyur-conversions services.

Kahana’s advisor, Rabbi Shai Weizmann, told Reshet Bet radio Wednesday: “This is on the agenda. According to the coalition agreement, city rabbis will go back to converting, as was the case in the 1990s. The Prime Minister’s office is in charge of conversions but all parties involved are already working hard to promote the move.”

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Weizmann also referred to the possibility that the rabbinate would take part in the kashrut reform, despite its vehement opposition, saying, “They also opposed initially the opening of local marriage registrations.”

The Conversion Authority in the Prime Minister’s Office provides services to Israeli citizens or permanent residents in Israel. Its job is to assist them through the conversion process “and work from a sense of national mission and public responsibility.”

The conversion process includes Jewish studies, a referral for deliberation in the rabbinical court, acceptance of the mitzvot-commandments, circumcision (for males), ritual immersion, and receiving the conversion certificate.

While studying, those in the process of converting are given an opportunity to experience the Jewish lifestyle by staying with Jewish families for Shabbat and Jewish holidays, going to synagogue, and participating in trips and visits to historic sites and sites that are holy to the Jewish people. The Jewish studies are designed to provide the training and skills needed to convert to Judaism and they are free of charge.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.